What role should the Senate play in the selection and confirmation of judges? What criteria are appropriate in evaluating nominees? What kinds of questions and answers are appropriate in confirmation hearings? How do judges interpret laws enacted by Congress, and what problems do they face? And what kinds of communications are proper between judges and legislators? These questions go to the heart of the relationship between the federal judiciary and Congress—a relationship that critically shapes the administration of justice. The judiciary needs an environment respectful of its mission; and the legislative branch seeks a judicial system that faithfully construes its laws and efficiently discharges justice. But the judicial-congressional relationship is hindered by an array of issues, including an ever-rising judicial caseload, federalization of the law, resource constraints, concerns about the confirmation process, increasing legislative scrutiny of judicial decisionmaking and the administration of justice, and debates about how the courts should interpret legislation.
Drawing on the world of scholarship and from personal experience, Robert A. Katzmann examines governance in judicial-congressional relations. After identifying problems, he offers ways to improve understanding between the two branches.
Copublished with the Governance Institute
Benjamin Wittes, Pietro S. Nivola
August 28, 2015
Robert A. Katzmann is a visiting fellow in the Governmental Studies program at the Brookings Institution, president of the Governance Institute, and professor of government and law at Georgetown University. A lawyer and political scientist, he h